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UN Secretary-General Launches Oceans Compact

12 August 2012: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched the Oceans Compact, which seeks to support and strengthen the implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The launch took place at a side event during the Yeosu International Conference, Republic of Korea, held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the opening for signature of UNCLOS.

The Oceans Compact aims to strengthen UN system-wide coherence in delivering on its oceans-related mandates, while promoting the engagement of all stakeholders to address challenges in protecting and restoring the health and productivity of the oceans. It sets out a strategic vision, consistent with the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), “The Future We Want,” in which countries agreed on a range of measures to be taken to protect the oceans and promote sustainable development.

In his statement, Ban noted that oceans host a wide variety of biodiversity, but face multiple threats, "above all" the precarious state of the marine environment. He emphasized that humans have put the oceans at risk of irreversible damage through overfishing, climate change and ocean acidification, increasing pollution, unsustainable coastal-area development and unwanted impacts from resource extraction, resulting in loss of biodiversity, decreased abundance of species, damage to habitats and loss of ecological functions. [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [UN Press Release, 10 August] [UN Press Release, 12 August] [UNESCO Press Release] [Statement of Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)]